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S. Tamer Cavusgil • Michael R. Czinkota • Gary Knight Editors
Tracing the Roots of Globalization and Business Principles
Lawrence A. Beer
Prologue . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ix Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 PART I Chapter 1 Chapter 2 PART II Chapter 3 Chapter 4 PART III Chapter 5 Chapter 6 Chapter 7 PART IV Chapter 8 Chapter 9 EXCHANGE: THE NATURAL SOCIAL IMPERATIVE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Globalization Takes Root . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Tracing the Roots of Globalization. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 TRADE: A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE . . . . . . . 65 The Beginning of Recorded Trade . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 67 The Age of Exploration . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 121 BUILDING BLOCKS OF GLOBALIZATION . . . 147 The First Global Products . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 149 Ancient Societal Infrastructures Originating in and Supporting Commercialism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 169 Mediums of Exchange and Financial Instruments . . . 197 COLLATERAL INFLUENCES ON GLOBAL COMMERCIALIZATION . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 211 Religion and the Exchange Process. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 213 The Inﬂuence of Government on Global Trade and Ancient Secular, Commercial, and Legal Regulations . . 239
Chapter 10 Reﬂections and Conclusions . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 261 Notes. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 293 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 301 Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 311
When I began teaching global management business courses I was struck by the reality that my American students had a minimal introduction if not noticeably absent knowledge as to the history of commerce. They also lacked an appreciation of the impact of the commercial imperative on the development of civilization. As most of them where born in the era of modern globalization, with product choices and common brand names for everyday goods coming from a broad spectrum of foreign sources, the assumption that the world marketplace was created in their time was a commonly held conviction. The notion that globalization is a recent occurrence with a decidedly prejudicial depiction as United States no less European-inspired event permeates the presentations of many educators, books and articles, authors, and the public. The idea that such a system evolved over time and that today’s business management principles were birthed in antiquity were concepts my students never considered. I decided that I would open every class with a presentation on the roots of globalization, the emergence of the exchange imperative, and trade as a prime initiator propelling and contributing to societal growth and development. All cultures throughout history at one time or another engaged in cross border trade—what we today call globalization. It is an economic system with overtones of social and political ramiﬁcations that links all of us together. Many years later my continuously updated lecture notes for such sessions, coupled with a private research fascination on the contribution of the commercial imperative to civilization, have resulted in this book. Beyond the impetus provided by my students to investigate the subject matter, I remembered vividly my global executive experiences when an understanding of the history of global commerce would have well served my world managerial responsibilities if only such an introduction was given to me during my academic years. Doing business with foreign associates requires a deeper appreciation of how the art and science of working across borders developed, as the processes and principles that emerged still impact the establishment of commercial relationships today. Framed in the era of modern
globalization, the current function of both undergraduate and MBA programs is to produce global citizen managers rather than graduates who are specialized in speciﬁc disciplines. This new educational pedagogical approach begins with business history or the roots of globalization. In many textbooks and articles the word “globalization” is deﬁned by the result it produces as opposed to the mechanism it really is. The term is used to describe a spreading economic phenomenon, the increased trend of nations to trade and invest across and between borders at a pace and to a degree not seen before: The growing economic interdependence around the world to signify that the economic good fortune or in reverse, the economic ills, of any one sovereign country could affect all the others. It reﬂects an interconnected interlinked global marketplace. The word is plainly objective. It describes an exempliﬁed condition supported by fact. The term is not judgmental. Modern globalization is not a perfect economic system; it just exists, and one needs to deal with it. The term, however, has been hijacked by numerous prejudicial agenda-driven groups who have altered the word’s simple deﬁnition to suit their political, economic, and social agendas. It has been used to metaphorically symbolize problems that a changing environment endures. Some see the phenomenon as capitalism gone globally viral and that the commercial imperative lacks an ethical direction when applied worldwide. They fail to understand that the original exchange process that evolved into ancient cross territorial trade was never intended to be an equitable system of give and take. Undue advantage and damage has always accompanied relationships of humans since the beginning of mankind. The word “globalization” should be deﬁned as a universal mechanism that grew out of the naturally occurring ordered-exchange process. It matured on the back of common denominators of shared need values across and between social groups around the world. This meaning properly recognizes it as a socially induced system that is inherent in all cultures fostering social integration. It is a method to help manage the affairs of human beings and a collectively engineered apparatus to provide for the mutual, but not always equal, attainment of basic needs. As such it began in ancient times and continues in the present. Students in undergraduate and graduate business programs, as well as owners and managers of corporations, face a career historically marred by the negative overtones that the commercial endeavor has produced.
While the commercial world today and throughout history is not justiﬁably immune from valid criticisms for its practices and overall conduct, its inﬂuence on the development of civilization should not be overlooked. This consideration, along with the desire to acquaint the current business profession with its roots of its principles, provided the motivation for the construction of this book. The book is intended to provide a historic perception of how the natural process developed, how the commercial world evolved to form the basis for many of our modern business techniques, and how the trade imperative (the precursor of global commerce) inﬂuenced the construction of our constantly developing civilization. The gathered material was constructed as a neutral assessment and not intended to portray globalizations as good or bad. However, any inspection into historical accounts must recognize that there will always contain the prejudicial ﬁlters that are part of human record-keeping activity. The term “history” is derived from the Greek word historia, which means information or an inquiry designed to elicit truth. I recall one of my own Professors once remarking that history is the version of past events that people have decided to agree upon, and therefore it is always subject to reinterpretation and examination sustained by new conﬁrmed facts that themselves can be challenged by future observers. It should be noted that the majority of references to history in this book are taken from generally accepted researched writings with many based on the published accounts as offered by scribes of yesterday. Such accuracy is always suspect as early public record keeping was in the purview of territorial rulers who engaged writers to portray their deeds in a decidedly positive fashion, cementing the fact that their historical tenure would always be preserved in the best possible way. Many historic accounts reported years, if not centuries, after the actual events took place relied on storytellers who themselves blended myth and fact to sustain their subjective conclusions. Classical authors did not rely on statistics, as such a collection in antiquity was not ofﬁcially organized or, when it was available, was deeply suspect. Hence illogical contradictions appear in historic writings. Many ancient historians were therefore careless with details, reckless with chronology, and more desirous of ﬂamboyant rhetoric to attract readers than interested in accuracy. In spite of such misgivings, pictures of the past do emerge that are worthy of inspection, examination, and reﬂective comment. Some theories introduced in the book recount the ideas
of fringe historians as historic consensus is always in ﬂux and new discoveries may alter what is presently considered correct. No matter how history is presented, and for that matter debated, to paraphrase the great Greek orator Cicero, in order to gain the maturity of knowledge, one must inquire into the past or the infancy of wisdom will remain. As history is an unending dialogue between the past and the present, looking backward allows us to better plan for the future and such is the overriding intent of this book: to give current and future managers a better appreciation and understanding of the process they have inherited so they might use it better. Lao Tzu, the Chinese philosopher whose sayings are often recounted as those of Confucius, wrote that “By three methods we may learn wisdom: First, by reﬂection, which is the noblest, / Second by imitation, which is the easiest; and third by experience, which is the bitterest.”1 Globalization is a modern term but the roots of its theoretical inception are deeply buried in antiquity, and hence an inspection into the past, which allows for reﬂection in the present, is a good way to gather intelligence, perhaps emulate it and in the end use it to combat the harsh realities that occur around us. To put globalization in a time perspective, drawing a mental picture of its progression, think of a stadium and a playing ﬁeld. In the beginning, ancient times, the participants in the game were few. Most of the earth’s population either sat on the sidelines as a supporting cast or in the stands watching the event while experiencing its effects either directly or indirectly. Over centuries, such bystanders were more and more inﬂuenced by the incumbent players and got more involved in the game. They demanded alteration of the rules of the game to satisfy their needs and the participants began to structure their strategic intent and tactical activities with spectators in mind. In the modern fast-changing global environment, the audience has begun to come out of their seats as the appeal to join those on the ﬁeld and get into the economic game has strengthened. The basic system, however, was created long ago, and over time more and more territorial participants entered the arena as players as opposed to just sitting in the stands. At the end of 2009, the world population is expected to exceed 7 billion and by 2050 conservative estimates predict another 2.5 billion will be added, a 36% increase. As the world grows, so will the interaction of its inhabitants as players rather than spectators. The effect of modern
globalization in the words of Thomas L. Friedman is a “hot, ﬂat and crowded” world.2 Metaphorically, what is happening is best illustrated by a lyric from singer-songwriter Don McLean’s song American Pie (1971): “’Cause the players tried to take the ﬁeld [but] the marching band / Refused to yield, do you recall what was revealed.”3 Such a question has been answered. More and more participants are on the global commercial ﬁeld of play and the stadium continues to ﬁll up. A larger slice of the world’s population will now be represented as the era of modern globalization, the unprecedented expansion of trade between and among nations based on ancient principles, takes hold. Emerging nations, the marching band, have made their presence known, and competition with the incumbent players has begun. Ironically, history reveals that the so-called developing nations of today were at one time the early purveyors and in fact the dominant players in the global trade game. The modern world is, however, a changing, evolving one that students of today, the future executives of tomorrow, will need to engage. While new skills and techniques will need to be engineered to deal with such issues, the lessons of history still form the basis of this educational process. Most textbooks on the subject of international business and/or management devote an introductory chapter describing the globalization process, recounting such development in a series of statistical charts and depicting the growth of international or cross border trade and its ﬁnancial cousin—foreign direct investment (FDI). The data shows that the world has embraced the phenomenon in the modern period, after World War II, at an accelerated pace and to a degree never before experienced. But such a concentration targeting the leap in natural progression, based primarily on arithmetical references in the modern era, does not tell the whole story nor does it allow an appreciation and understanding of how the development of the world was enhanced and fueled by the concept of globalization throughout history. Commercial history is intertwined with mankind’s history and this partnership will continue to shape and inﬂuence the future. Knowing where one comes from helps in the construction of the current journey and such is the theme of this book. As well stated in a recent article, “There are already manifold interactions between business history and management studies, but to date they have been tended to be more particular
and patchy than general and systematic.” A “closer engagement” to “further consideration and discussion” is warranted so that research historians and business theorists can combine to provide a platform of introspection to further the education of international managers.4 The study of history is often placed in the realm of humanities in most universities. Business school students, with their desire to learn something that will lead to a job, are more prone to take courses that build managerial skills, which directly relate to career improvement. However, to study history is to study and learn about people. It is the language of emotion,5 events, and response to them. It relates mankind’s relationship development. Since the beginning of time people have built numerous systems to help them adjust to human behavior: “The observant person goes through life asking: Where did that come from?”6 Only by appreciating and understanding the past can we construct the future. This book is intended as a consolidated historic look at how the exchange imperative evolved into ancient cross territorial and then intercontinental trade, the precursor of modern-day globalization. It does not cover all events as such a task is simply too daunting. Therefore the information presented is selective and the presentation style is not built around a precise chronological passing of notable events. Events are approached with references linking historical aspects of the commercial process with sections depicting their modern relevance. The book begins with a discussion of the prime driver of human relationship the normative ingrained desire, both physical and physiological, to exchange the fruits of one’s labors with others, precursor of trade, and its contribution to the development of civilization. It traces the emergence of the trading initiative via early commercial proﬁles of geographical regions and into the age of global exploration. It then offers an inspection of three areas of the business operational axis—products, infrastructure, and mediums of exchange—to show their contribution to the modern commercial system. Next the inﬂuence of the collateral elements of religion, government, and commercial laws is offered, ending with reﬂection and conclusions regarding the continuance of the globalization phenomenon in the future. While many similar concepts lead to the emergence of common principles across the globe, they developed in the context of varying historical events. The text, therefore, presents them from a number of diverging
yet intertwined circumstances and references academic disciplines from a different perspective. Because of this consideration, the text may repeat itself if only to stress their importance and inﬂuence on the globalization process. I am deeply indebted to the editors of international collections at Business Expert Press (BEP) for their supportive encouragement along with their valued guidance and suggestions. Professor Gary Knight of Florida State University early on recognized my possible probusiness prejudice as a career senior executive before joining the academic ranks and gently prodded me to present a balanced portrayal of commercial history and its inﬂuence on civilization. Professor Michael Czinkota of Georgetown University kindly advised me to put a human face on historic examples to better illustrate the inﬂuence of business organizations and their sometime partnership with government and religious institutions, as well as their products and services on the social environment. Tamer Cavusgil of the University of Georgia, even before my association with BEP, encouraged me to put down on paper my ideas on international business subjects and I am forever thankful for his friendship and continuing supportive guidance. This book is dedicated to my children and grandchildren. May they learn from the past as I have, use such knowledge in their lives, while making sure they pass it on to those that follow in their footsteps. Lawrence A. Beer July 14, 2011
The commercial managerial process is twofold: First, it provides strategic planning for institutions; second, it creates relationships within and without organizations to assist in achieving such goals. To arrive at these conjoined considerations requires managerial decision makers to acknowledge that everything has a history, nothing evolves in a vacuum. This axiom is especially important in conducting business on a global scale. Given the extensive degree and scale across the world, commercial process requires an introduction into the roots of globalization. The lessons of the past can be instrumental in planning for the future. Knowing how strategic business principles came to be established between people in alien territories is a vital complement to the educational skills and abilities the modern manager must possess. The concepts used today in all business disciplines developed from a myriad of ideas, techniques, and applications composed by ancient civilizations from around the world as they dealt with the creation of a workable exchange system. Because they emerged in a more simplistic world, one can cut through the minutia and concentrate on the core problems they addressed as the basic issues faced today are the same fundamental considerations before. Even modern analytical models conﬁrm the strategic decision making of ancient merchants. In the modern era of globalization, bringing diverse groups of business people together into a cohesive global unit has never been so important. This managerial function demands an inspection into their historic commercial relationships with each other. While the world is today more technically universal, it was constructed on a human historical foundation. Appreciating this base, on which all was built, allows one to reach new levels of accomplishment. My own international executive experience taught me that in constructing the globalization of my own company’s interests a key element to keep in mind is that different territorial and hence cultural groups were always combining. It was a practice that has always existed. U.S.
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ﬁrms and their managerial cadre are the new guys on the block. We are interlopers in a system that others used centuries ago and we need to be respectful of what came before our entrance into the global commercial club. I am mindful of the phrase often uttered by my business colleagues around the world during my executive tenure days: “You guys didn’t invent business, the world has been practicing it since recorded history. We do know something about it. Sometimes we even forget this consideration but you shouldn’t.” Commerce expanded around the globe, joining societies in the ancient world into unsophisticated by arguably economic alliances as well as economic conﬂicts. The remnants of these historic events are still in evidence today. How ancient merchants manipulated the emergence of the commercially globalized world provides lessons for the modern inheritors of this never ending process. When taken together, a simple conclusion emerges. Globalization is the historic story of the spreading and widening of the natural human exchange process, a commercialization of the basic need for reciprocity between people. It is a factual testament to John Donne’s quote, “No man is an island unto himself ”;1 the desire to connect with others is at the core of humanity. The more salient points of the book can be summarized as follows: 1. The process of exchange is a natural, inborn human trait that no other species on Earth emulates. The primeval basic desire of all men to exchange the fruits of their labors or specialized abilities for those of others is a natural social condition of the human psyche. It is part of our social ritual that continues in the present day as the prime impetus to bring people together. This was ﬁrst evidenced in the process of collective action in adjunct with survival instincts when men worked together to protect themselves from the harshness of their environments, and even each other. Such fundamental societal individual behavior resulted in the barter system, the division of labor, and expanded when the idea of creating a surplus beyond one’s immediate needs was realized and the excess offered for trade. The same fundamental commercial onus exits today. 2. Every society trades and the cross territorial experience contributed to the development of civilization. Merchant traders were the ﬁrst
ambassadors of cultural change and their inﬂuence continues to this day. Their activities provided for, and still account toward, the impetus for physical infrastructure development and technological advances even in the modern world. As merchants crossed over through new territories, creating intercontinental paths on land and water in their pursuit of the exchange of goods, they provided the avenues for swapping not just foreign resources; their activities propelled the growth of a cross-cultural dialogue that in turn furthered intellectual progress. On the rails of commerce the world grew as ideas, inventions, and religion-based philosophical beliefs were also transferred, borrowed, and copied in the process. 3. Ancient merchants introduced the principles of business that are still in use today, from rules of commercial engagement to the creation of institutions that carry them out. Universal marketing methodology as well as international sales networks and logistics were historically practiced along with the creation of global strategic alliances using repetitive middlemen transactions; all of these tactics are still employed in the present. 4. All religions, as a social behavioral instrument, recognized the need to incorporate in their teachings the element of rightful exchange of things between people and their doctrines still in use today contain such directional guidance. At times the Church even participated in the trade affairs of nations and was an active partner in commercial exploration of the globe. 5. Governments, in varying degrees, have always supported the commercial process. From the creation of standardized measurements to the establishment of mediums of exchange to the enactment and enforcement of laws, state regimes have, and continue to be, a collateral factor in the world of commerce. Their foreign policies not only reﬂected the importance of the ﬁnancial resources it provided, but their combined inﬂuence on the world stage has altered history to the beneﬁt and detriment of people. Such joint considerations still exist, and their interplay directs the lives of the world’s population. Wisdom comes from appreciating how and why things developed. It is as important as the end knowledge provided by them. Understanding commercial history is a valued mechanism that global executives should
GLOBALIZATION AND BUSINESS PRINCIPLES
have in their managerial educational skill collection as it often provides the key to unlocking the complicated, multifaceted global world. Managers who study the past will be better prepared for the future. In too many textbooks and articles the word “globalization” is deﬁned by the results it produces as opposed to the mechanism it really is. The term should be used to describe a universal instrument that grew out of a naturally occurring, ordered exchange process. Its maturity was fueled by commonly shared denominators of value across and between social groups around the world. Such meaning properly recognizes it as a socially induced system that is inherent in all cultures and acts as a binding agent across and between cultures. It is a method to help manage the affairs of human beings, a socially engineered apparatus to provide for the mutual but not always equal need attainment. It began in ancient times and continues in the present. Its scope and degree in the modern era of civilization have resulted in a more advanced borderless economic world as demonstrated by the interdependence of nations and exempliﬁed by increasing traverse territorial commercial trade and investment around the world.
The Natural Social Imperative
An author’s conclusions or reﬂective summaries are normally reserved for insertion at the end of a book. But I have always been impressed by the writing style of Pulitzer Prize writing author Jared Diamond who offers the reader an insight into what he has learned in his introductory chapters.1 Let me follow suit and share my own thoughts, as a number of amazing concepts came out of my research and editing of this book. Overall the essential contention of this book is that globalization incites and magniﬁes humanity’s strengths while exposing its weaknesses. It thereby acts as a prime provocateur for the growth and development of civilization. Built on a system of multiterritorial, economically inspired social mobility, it facilitated cross-cultural relationships, thereby engineering not only the exchange of products but also the sharing of ideas and talents through competition, which alters the human experience and continues today. Out of this process were modern business principles born. More speciﬁcally, the text attempts to show that, ﬁrstly, the exchange process is a man-made event. It originated everywhere on Earth and no speciﬁc society and no specialized civilization can take credit for its invention, as it is a unique human trait shared by all. While other species on Earth do in fact horde or store food resources for future use, share their kills in the ﬁeld with other hunters, bring back to the pride or nest their ﬁnds for the beneﬁt of others, and engage in a division of speciﬁc labors for collective survival, only man trades. Second, without the exchange process, the world would have never progressed. Civilization would not have evolved. Hence the two are intertwined with trade, the golden thread in the tapestry of civilized development. Exchange fuels men’s actions toward each other and is fundamental to the establishment of relationships. It rewards specialized
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individual abilities within the context of a group. Trade allows for society to be organized and brings us together. These two conceptual considerations led me to examine the research of anthropologists, archeologists, and the writing of historians in regard to the importance of the element of cross-cultural exchange in their inspections. While these scientiﬁc and scholastic ﬁelds report on ﬁnding ancient physical artifacts, products or goods from other territories or societies, usually pottery shards, and other detritus objects as evidence of foreign trade, they do not always discuss the inﬂuence of cross regional and even intercontinental associations in respect to the evolution of mankind. Answers as to where, when, how, and by whom advancements in civilization were made require inserting the trade factor into the examination of life on Earth. It is a key factor, an important link in the appreciation of how people developed in settlements around the world. The numerous merchant transactions that accompanied cross territorial trade produced a myriad of interpersonal relationships and with it the transfer, sharing, and borrowing of knowledge and ideas on living. Sometimes the process of information exchange is hidden or its identity masked; it does not have the physical properties evidenced in the survival of ancient artifacts, as rarely were philosophical thoughts or advanced technological skills written down and preserved. They were passed on orally or via demonstration. We tend to attribute learning to the group that ﬁrst offered it to us, forgetting that perhaps they learned it from others. For example, the Arabs are credited with inventing Western style mathematical numerals, advancements in chemistry, and star navigation. But what if they learned these from Indian traders crossing the Indian Ocean who had in turn ﬁrst learned them from the Chinese with whom they also traded? Each time a new discovery from antiquity is made, evidence is found in the cross contaminated nature of cultures due to the trading phenomenon. This makes it more and more difﬁcult to determine where anything ﬁrst began. In my research I observed that every society at one time or another had contact with alien societies. Even a seemingly isolated island always attempted to reach out to another remote island. For others the desire for foreign contact stretched out from their singular territorial land borders, while still others crossed continents and eventually circumnavigated the globe. Often we see only two sides of a trade link and forget that it is part of an elongated sequence that is connected to all the others, an interlocking elongated series. Each link dispenses
and receives information not just from the links on either side that it is attached to but from all the other links in the chain. When you touch one you are really touching all the others, essentially forming stepping stones across the world pond, each inﬂuencing the other. Third, most of the modern-day basic business concepts, commercial instruments, organizational models, legal regulations, and the administration of institutions involved in proﬁt-making activities were developed and used in antiquity. They have not changed dramatically but have merely improved due to technological advances. And while on the subject of technological improvements, the motivation behind new inventions that have bettered mankind over history either are traceable to the commercial imperative or owe their spread across the globe to the business imperative. The need for, and the investment in, developing them arose out of entrepreneurs whose visionary understanding provided the value incentive. Fourth, while the exchange process begot cross territorial trade and emerged into what we now call the globalization phenomenon. This mechanism contributed at all times in the history of mankind to the advancement of civilization even if such an apparatus came with pluses and minuses. It has opened new areas and brought people together, offering the bounties of the world to an ever-widening audience. But the process also depressed and robbed people of their human freedoms, did not result in shared equal economic returns, and destroyed natural environments. The process is not perfect as it emanates from man who himself is not perfect. All one can do is recognize its creative and destructive forces, hoping future business managers strive to make it a positive component in the sociopolitical and economic system it initially helped to create. Globalization is the ﬁnal chapter in the spreading and widening of the natural human exchange process, a commercialization of the need for reciprocity between people. It has been going on since mankind ﬁrst engaged in a bartering transaction wherein the fruits of one’s knowledge and/or physical labors, in respect to their interaction with the varying environments around them, allowed them to swap or replace the products of their skills and abilities with those of another. In the process, a materially measured worth was assigned to each man’s harvesting and/ or alteration of the earth’s bounties and a relative value was established
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between the parties. While the principles ﬁrst used in the exchange process have evolved over time into a more mature and sophisticated system, the conceptual imperative remains the same. People are connected and they need each other to survive and progress. Exchange is the bedrock on which civilization was constructed. It is the socially induced phenomenon that allows for growth and change. It has been with mankind since the beginning of time on Earth and will remain with us in the coming millenniums as we search the stars.
Globalization Takes Root
History is a maiden, and you may dress her however you wish. —Chinese proverb
History can be approached from numerous vantage points. I have chosen to clothe her in the context of commercial imperative. This distinctive garment shows off history’s greatest accomplishment—the development of civilization—with the threads woven from the remnants of the vital exchange arrangement. The process of exchange or bartering, where one thing is traded for another, is perhaps the oldest social system known to man. With the exception of man’s survival relationship with nature and the establishment of the family unit through sexual attraction, it represents one of mankind’s most basic instincts. It may have predated ancient organized religion and even forms of early social order, government, in many cultures. Called the “splendid exchange” by author William J. Bernstein,1 the principle of trade is at the cornerstone of the development of civilization. Its inﬂuence on global societal development via the emergence of the commercial proﬁt imperative as it evolved from the simple exchange process has been both progressive and destructive. Nonetheless it is hard to argue that it has not been a prime component in the history of mankind, processing both good and bad elements. Jeffrey A. Tucker, a guest blogger for The Christian Science Monitor, relates a simple purchase in a grocery store with the familiar refrain “thank you, you’re welcome” as evidence of the “essence of exchange and core magic of what happens . . . trillions of times every day all over the world.”2 He calls this process “a system of mutual benefaction, unrelenting and universal” increasing a sense of personal if not social welfare. Tucker cites the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas who described the action of exchange on its own as a “means of increasing the well-being of all people” and that the “mere fact of exchange-based human associations”
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enhances social wealth. Tucker also mentions the 16th-century Spanish theologian Bartolome de Albornoz who wrote that “buying and selling is the nerve of human life that sustains the universe,” as it unites the world, joining distant lands, people, and ways of life. In his conclusion he observes that “the market is rarely given the credit it deserves for helping humanity improve its lot,”3 as it enforces cooperative interaction, a socially worthwhile event. While the comments contain religiously infused, socially based platitudes for the exchange process are noteworthy and appear in the doctrines of other spiritual organizations, the ethical actions of the commercial practice are not without critical opposition. Buddhist teachings encourage followers to engage in the “right livelihood.” In Christianity and Islam, their scriptures contain a condemnation of interest or usury while Jewish law talks of earning money in a kosher or right fashion. All religions advise people to be honest in their dealings with others as they recognize that life is a series of constant reciprocal arrangements with one’s fellow man. Therefore prodding them to do so in an equitable fashion promotes harmony and social order. A more detailed analysis of the interplay between religion and the exchange process is presented later in the text, but as religious institutions evolved to assist in providing social orderliness and direction, their acknowledgment of business as a subject of interest, worthy of comment, is indicative of its inﬂuence on daily activities and the development of civilization. Historic ventures in the name of economic improvement, the quest for wealth, and dominance by one nation over another have resulted in wars triggered by trading disputes, no less the outright conquering of lands and the colonization of their people to merely appropriate them via slavery and plunder their resources. Name almost any war throughout history and one uncovers that the underlining, if not the key motivational intent, has a ﬁnancial or wealth creating incentive to it. Throughout human history, commercial exploration, as further presented later in the text, and at times partnering with governments and endorsed by religious organizations, resulted in destructive consequences for those involved. There is no purity of the marketplace as created by the exchange or trade process. Mankind is ﬂawed and the mechanisms he creates to help manage his life contain the human errors. However the commercial system, as begun in antiquity and continuing today, has allowed mankind to
GLOBALIZATION TAKES ROOT
sustain their lives and improve their lot. It is the lifeblood of civilization; its nurturing agent supplies the world with its necessities. Its by-products gave the world the impetus for developing language, record keeping of written documents, mathematical systems, and a multitude of inventions and advancements in science while providing the capital funding for the arts to name just a few of its beneﬁcial properties. Perhaps the best way to describe the effect of exchange initiative on civilization is to compare it with water in the formation and maintenance of life on Earth. Like all forces in nature, it brings both good and bad. Rain nourishes crops and replenishes rivers and streams while reﬁlling our precious water reservoirs. At the same time, its overﬂow washes away valuable land and can destroy the social settlements placed on it. The exchange process both gives and takes like any other natural occurrence. In its wake it sets up social stratiﬁcation—that is, those who are abundant and those who are needy (i.e., the well-to-do and the poor). It is not an equal system. The capitalistic system, a branch of the exchange process, is an economic model for creating wealth but not for its equal distribution. Hopefully all observers and commentators can at least agree that the concept exists and that the business students of today, the managers of tomorrow, will live in the tide of modern globalization created by the trade waves of those who have gone before. As this book was being composed the intent behind the text presentations was clear. The book argues that the ancient economic process of barter or the exchange of one thing, be it a product or service or even knowledge for another thing, evolving into the trade initiative with the substitution of mediums of exchange (money) for tangible or intangible things and culminating in modern times as a fundamental factor in the globalization phenomenon, has throughout human history inﬂuenced and propelled the development and growth of civilization. The book is not intended to be a history of economic thought nor is it a review of the history of socioeconomic models. It is not an elongated position paper in praise of or in condemnation of free trade principles or the capitalistic system. Whether one subscribes to these ideas or to an engineered or managed trading theory or the socialistic approach or a communist type handling of the means of production or any other deﬁnition of economics one cares to apply; the operative underlying connecting word in all systems is trade and its actionable results. Ha-Joon
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Chang in his book making a case against free-trade orthodoxy, although he balances his perspective, reminds the reader of the simple fact that “the importance of international trade for economic development cannot be overemphasized.”4 The investigations presented in the book are intended to acquaint business managers as to the effect of their institutional actions, their commercial operations, on the human social condition known as civilization. The power and reach of the commercial imperative have always impacted mankind—sometimes as a positive force and sometimes as a negative force—but its signiﬁcant relative positioning in the expansion and maturity of civilization should not be dismissed or relegated to a minor fragment in the inspection of history. Business history is too often regarded by mainstream historians and business school economists as a rather narrow area of study, with little intellectual merit. A number of scholars even doubt if the subject really deserves classiﬁcation as a separate and distinct subdivision of history. Others feel it is best delegated to a subsection of the science of economics or placed in the context of other social sciences from anthropology to archeology and the subtexts of cultural determinations that are embedded within such areas of study. The Journal of Management Studies has announced that it wants to theme a special issue devoted to business history in order to encourage a discussion among scholars as to the advantages of a closer engagement between business history and management studies, a collaboration that the editors feel is worthy of further deliberation in the academic arena. For business managers who must conduct their responsibilities and obligations in today’s commercially expanding world, acquiring an education of their heritage as inﬂuential social interlopers in the establishment and continuing growth of the human condition is valid. Knowing how their ancestors impacted the world gives them a greater understanding of their role in the continuing process as they assume such mantles of responsibility.
The actual term “globalization” emerged in the early 1960s, with some attributing the new word to an article in an undistinguishable magazine.
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It was ﬁrst used to describe a coming period in world commerce and economic conditioning when the timeless integration of global markets would have a more important impact than ever before. The scale and degree of movement to an interlinked world, while always occurring, were beginning to move to such a critical mass that the phenomenon was worthy of developing a term to characterize the event. Once created, such designations became subject to further identiﬁcation and examination. Researchers penned numerous articles while international business textbook writers incorporated the idea into their opening chapters to explain and comment on its effect. In short, whether one depicts the phenomenon as a positive or negative force, it gets a lot of attention as it is the dominant economic system in place today and for the near future. The current antagonistically disapproving use of the term is well exempliﬁed by the title of a recent book using a dictionary approach. Called Globalization: n. The Irrational Fear That Someone in China Will Take Your Job,5 the authors debunk the often misguided contention that international trade, the mythical interloper in one’s life, is a domestic, economic, destructive force. They argue that there are limits to the effect of outside agents bestowing material advantages on some national markets to the disadvantage of others. The book dispels such misunderstandings by showing that countries control their own economic fate and that global trends can both aid and hinder economic progress. The authors, aided by U.S. statistical abstracts of occupational employment in various industries since 1983, demonstrate that overall job growth has been strong and that in areas where losses have occurred, they have been in low-level positions with the primary culprit being automation and not job movement overseas. In their introduction, the authors dramatically demonstrate that a search on Amazon.com would turn up over 4,000 results that have term globalization in them and that New York Public Library contains close to 500 books devoted to the subject and with more to come. Chapter 1, “It May Be News, But It Isn’t New, A Brief History of Globalization,” conﬁrms that the phenomenon has a history but states “it is hard to say precisely when it began.”6 The Roman Empire is offered as a starting point but because it did not cover the entire world, such a time frame is dismissed. The British Empire after 1815 is considered but dismissed, as international trade was insigniﬁcant during the originating as the far-ﬂung global colonies were created to basically service Britain and
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not other nations. The authors settle on the late 19th century when barriers to international trade were reduced and new technology was shrinking the world with increased efﬁciencies in communication and transport coupled with increased cross-country immigration.7 Such considerations resulted in a key determinant, the diminished economic power of historic national rivalries according to the authors who themselves cite Norman Angell’s timeless book The Great Illusion as the theoretical engineer of the concept.8 Hence globalization, if deﬁned as a decline of national economic inﬂuence and the emergence of an independent global force built on a worldwide interconnected system, but allowing for bumps in the coordinated structure due to world wars and the great 1920 depression, would be considered a modern 19th-century phenomenon. According to Bruce Greenwald and Judd Kahn, it really began its ascent in the 1950s. What these learned authors fail to account for in their brief history of globalization primarily is that technological advances have always been part of mankind’s desire to reach and touch others with continuing progress, always being made to tie the world closer together (see chapter 6). That the economic power and prestige of nation-states in antiquity to effect trade outside their borders were always augmented by independent merchant traders who partnered with sovereign countries to pursue international commercial ventures. Today these merchants, in the guise of multinational corporations (MNCs), are challenging the global strength of the nations they once serviced. Dan Rodrik opens The Global Paradox with a chapter titled “Globalization in History’s Mirror” with a proﬁle of the beaver trade in the Native American territories of 1671.9 He follows with references to the Hudson’s Bay Company and East India Company, the mercantilist chartered trading companies of that era, noting that they operated with “statelike enforcement powers . . . imposing their own rules over foreign populations in distant lands.”10 Rodrik seems to indicate that such quasi-government-public enterprises, the forerunners of today’s modern MNCs, were the provocative agents for the beginning of globalization. While learned authors on the subject of globalization chose varying periods in history to mark its emergence, there is no doubt that its roots were planted in ancient times. What we see today are its mature trunk and branches—the continuance of its development. It is not a modern-day birth no matter which speciﬁc group of events and parties is used to illustrate its time line.
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The term is used most commonly to deﬁne a more globally integrated system of economic interdependence among nations as reﬂected in increasing cross border ﬂows of (a) goods and services, (b) capital, and (c) know-how as fueled by advancements in technology shrinking the world via more connected communication and transport mechanisms. Using a historic time portal, globalization can be proﬁled as a process of intensiﬁcation of cross border social interactions due to declining costs of connecting distant locations through advancements in technology affecting transport and communication. It is further actuated by the increased transfer of capital, goods, and people between and through sovereign territories. This process has culminated in the modern era with the transnational interdependence of economic and social actors, an increase in both opportunities and risks, and intensiﬁed competition. Today globalization is accelerated by a myriad of factors. Governmentdriven and ﬁnancially based decisions, as exempliﬁed by reductions in barriers for trade and more liberal privatization and deregulation policies, have allowed for increased ﬂows of foreign direct investment (FDI), capital, and related services. Political upheaval—such as the removal of the iron curtain and the independence of former Soviet Union states, partial transformation of communist China into a more open economy, and the growth of emerging nations—has contributed to the faster pace of modern globalization. Rapid technological advancements in respect to information processing and enlarged communication highways via the Internet and wireless devices using satellite transmissions, coupled with more efﬁcient transportation mechanisms, have allowed for faster and more efﬁcient connections between and among dispersed global supply chains. Sociopolitical developments have always accompanied international trade, allowing for increased migrations, creation of new identities, and the spread of human knowledge between and across social groups. The quickness of these developments has propelled the modern phenomenon we call globalization, but its beginnings are ﬁrmly planted in and have evolved from the ancient exchange imperative, which contained elements of all these considerations. Globalization also possesses a social opportunity ingredient. It slowly eats away at isolation, integrating people, and thereby changing people’s ideas and relationships, reshaping the world just as it has been doing for thousands of centuries. It is a reengineering of the global economic
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system, with repercussions that would inﬂuence the sociopolitical climate around the world, and a time when the economic good fortune or in reverse the economic ills of any one sovereign would impact others—the coming of a more interlinked borderless world. The term “globalization” ushered in a whole new genre of book offerings, most notably the popular best-selling book series by Thomas L. Freidman, beginning with The Lexus and the Olive Tree published in 1999 to The World Is Flat in 2005 and the most recent update Hot, Flat, and Crowded in 2008. The newly coined word became a touchstone for its overriding notion that the world was expanding both economically and socially with more players in the game and more spectators being affected by a new structure. At the same time, the world was shrinking as technological advancements in communication and transportation made it easier to reach out to one another. Thomas Friedman summed up such a novel world force by concluding that globalization, as he deﬁnes it, has replaced the Cold War as the prime international socioeconomicpolitical system and is neither a trend nor a fad.11 One of the problems with the term “globalization” is that by ﬁrst being coined in the latter part of the 20th century it has taken on a meaning associated with more recent events that seem to justify its emergence. Globalization is an action word to describe a writer’s interpretation of a mounting trend that was beginning to affect the world like never before and perhaps reengineer the global economic system with repercussions that would inﬂuence the sociopolitical climate around the world, as Friedman’s conclusion suggests. In essence, the word was to exemplify the growing interdependence among nations, a time when the economic good fortune or in reverse the economic ills of any one sovereign nation would impact other nations to a degree never before experienced. As earlier noted, the actual start date of the phenomenon is subject to numerous interpretations. It is often portrayed as a collection of modern historic events within the opening chapters of most textbooks, critical and supportive essays, and journal articles on the subject of international business treating the subject as a modern and perhaps 20th-century proceeding. They all too often describe the phenomenon as duly emerging from the decline in governmental barriers to the free ﬂow of goods, services, and capital as driven by industrialized nations after World War II and fueled by dramatic advances in technology, most notably communication,
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information processing, and transportation.12 These two macro events and changes in the political economies of a number of nations in the latter part of the 19th century certainly contributed to the strong emergence of modern globalization, resulting in a linked and more integrated world. But the process did not begin in recent history; it was only altered with more efﬁcient fuel components added at that period. Some textbooks in their opening chapters provide a triparagraph historical retrospective13 while others use a page inset14 to give the reader a sense of the developmental process extending back to the ancient world. But such limited inspection is deserving of an increased introspective. The start date for globalization is subject to numerous conclusions. Mike W. Peng offers a good insight into this academic discourse, describing three approaches. He ﬁrst considers the arguments of perhaps agenda-driven antiglobalization parties who view it as a new phenomenon originating in the late 20th century with the dual result of technology coupled with “Western hypocrisy designed for MNEs [multinational enterprises] to exploit and dominate the world.”15 His second approach contains a historical commercial signature as he references the existence of the MNE starting 2,000 or 8,000 years ago back to the Assyrian, Phoenician, and Roman Empires.16 The third proposed initiative cites Joseph Stiglitz’s pendulum degree deﬁnition, stating that globalization is a “closer integration of the countries and peoples of the world which has brought about by the enormous reduction of the costs of transportation and communications, the breaking down of artiﬁcial barriers to the free ﬂow of goods, services, capital, knowledge and (to a lesser extent) people across borders.”17 All three of Peng’s proposals on the emergence of globalization have an economic pedagogy to them that is constructed on the commercial imperative, which of itself is tied to the simple process called trade, a fundamental practice built on exchange— the handmaiden to mankind’s overall civilized development. Friedman’s reference, as noted earlier, that it has replaced the Cold War marks the event in a modern time period, the late 1960s. But in his second book on the subject, Friedman slightly alters this view, suggesting there are three great eras of globalization, a theory accepted by many scholars. The ﬁrst was in 1492 with the voyage of Christopher Columbus, the second was from 1800 to 2000 (including the Industrial Revolution), further changing the world but interrupted by the Great Depression and World Wars
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I and II, and the third being the modern current era as individuals from every corner of the world are being empowered,18 leading to a ﬂattening of the world. Alan Beattie offers a growth-layered deﬁnition with the base level, the ﬁrst great era of globalization, between 1880 and 1914, or also the age of what some historians called High Imperialism—the apotheosis of the dominance of European colonial powers over the rest of the world19 followed by the Industrial Revolution and the modern era. Globalization as deﬁned by economic statisticians, and typically illustrated in a series of factual charts in most textbook opening chapters, use a series of quantitative trends to portray the rapid growth of cross border trade (volume and production) as well as foreign ﬁnancial investment (FDI ﬂows) along with changes in percentages of world output and exports as supportive evidence that a more integrated world economy has developed. A time frame beginning around 1950 and running to the present is the normal periodic reference. While statistical data to deﬁne globalization does offer valid examples of its ﬁnancial affect, the term is more complex then objective numbers portray. The word needs to contain a subjective human face to really deﬁne what is happening. Anand Giridharadas offers such an insight by describing the polar opposites of the phenomenon’s impact on the Indian society.20 He notes the reaction of some in this caste-conscious nation to view the process as reducing people to their speciﬁcally assigned global economic task, stripping them of their humanity just as their traditional socially ordered system did to their individual dignity. On the other hand, he uses the same measurement criteria—historic caste classiﬁcation—to show that it has allowed Indians to imagine a revolutionary realization that perhaps their lives may not be controlled by fates (kismet) and prescribed roles (karma). Globalization has brought opportunistic ambition and with it self-invention that allows servants to become masters of their own destiny. He uses the example of rural townsfolk demanding reliable electricity so they can use the Internet and satellite television, today fundamental necessities in their lives, where before they would humbly accept the historic interruptions as part of their place in society and as not to be challenged. These opposing viewpoints of the effect of globalization on the human condition may be appropriate to describe the duel reactions of people in many of the emerging nations around the world.
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Friedman’s book collection uses advances in technology around the mid-1960s (presumably the Internet as the prime motivator) as factors that propelled globalization. He sees an economic ﬂattening of the world where more and more participants will be entering the global commercial arena because they have more equal access to the same information. Some theorists even dispute the whole idea of globalization. In an article by Alan Rugman and Chang H. Oh,21 the authors deconstruct Friedman’s globalization theory and base their deﬁnition of true globalization on the global reach of MNEs. They use “empirical realities” to show that MNEs operate not globally but in fact regionally; hence true globalization, a process that encompasses the whole world per their testing criteria, does not exist. I ﬁnd myself disagreeing with the offered deﬁnition proofs to portray globalization and propose that the phenomenon, if tempered by the term known world, actually occurred throughout the history of man while quantitatively and qualitatively growing in size and inﬂuence. The concept is well characterized by many historians like Michael Rostovtzeff, observing that the differences between the ancient economy and the modern are differences of scale, not of kind; a restatement of the Stiglitz pendulum degree deﬁnition.22 As deﬁned by William J. Bernstein in A Splendid Exchange: How Trade Shaped the World, “Globalization, it turns out, was not one event or even a sequence of events; it is a process that has been slowly evolving for a very, very long time.”23 Globalization is not a deﬁnable destination with a precise beginning and end result but rather a term that portrays the journey. It is not a singular condition in time but a process that happens in steps. Such progression continues to this day and will continue to play out. Like water it will be appear in many forms, from liquid to gas to a frozen state and perhaps back again, but it will always contain its base element—that is, the exchange imperative, the golden thread that binds mankind together with each other and the environment. The process of globalization is likened to a tree with the phenomenon rooted in ancient trading activities via the bartering system, the stem emerges, developing into trunk during the age of discovery as the world is explored and ﬁnally growing branches as it continues to spread out and touch all areas of the globe in the modern era.
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Exchange Nourishes Civilization
The study of business at the university level does not contain a prestige equal to the other scholastic degrees. It is often relegated to a secondary or tertiary status, as the disciplines involved do not always qualify as life sciences nor liberal arts that contribute to the development of life on Earth and the human condition. While the subject of economies is often considered closer to a scientiﬁc inquiry and hence worthy of scholastic inquiry, the disciplines of commercial management and the history of its growth across recorded time do not receive the academic prominence they should. The reason for this prejudicial view is that business, while recognized for providing people a system to receive the necessities of life, is not seen as a contributor, no less a supporter, of civilization. Nothing can be further from the truth. The study of trade (i.e., the commercial imperative) is deeply intertwined with the development of civilization. The simple fact is that the exchange process, the grandfather of today’s modern globalization, was a prime ingredient for the growth of the world’s society while responsible for many of the collateral improvements of the human condition and at other times a destructive force. Trade allowed indigenous peoples to exchange products and services among themselves to foster their lives and was the impetus to venture outside their domestic territories in search of new resources. The desire to explore new lands and engage new societies was and still is inherent in the exchange imperative. It is a process that is fundamental to the survival of mankind as well as the underlying driver to integrate with others and learn from them. When trade broke down, it was also one of the prime drivers for making war on those who would not share in an equitable arrangement the bounties of their land with others. It should be noted that other conditions do result in armed conﬂicts as the pure greed of man and his desire to dominate others are strong provocateurs. Trade, as sections in the book illustrate, was the onus for the development of linguistics and the emergence of common languages, as well as the recording of events and activities. Deeply ingrained in the study of archeology is the recovery and classiﬁcation of the remnants of the past having a commercial base. Trade inﬂuences the sciences of anthropology and sociology as it is part of the study of the human condition. The emergence of mathematics (weights, measures, and calculations) and astrology
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for directional application has a direct correlation with the exchange desire and the trading process. It not only motivated the quest for thousands of inventions and processes in a variety of ﬁelds but also allowed for such advances to be shared with others. Commercial operations and their applied decisions manipulated politics and governments, thereby becoming a prelude to wars that changed history. It was intertwined with the spread of religion around the world and is reﬂected in the teachings of spiritual texts that recognized that part of securing social order required addressing how exchanges between people should be regulated. Many of mankind’s early laws to control ancient societies had at their cores principles of trade and the recognition of property rights. The commercial imperative was instrumental in the organization of the exploration of the world’s oceans and land masses. It is responsible for cross-cultural exchanges and for the modern phenomenon called globalization. While such considerations paint a positive picture of the exchange process it also harbored negative and destructive events. As noted earlier, it was a motivator for war, the enslavement, and geographical redistribution of people for commercial gain. It has partnered with tyrants and repressive governments to meet its materialistic goals to the detriment of numerous societies across the globe. It has been accused of unethical behavior, creating a world that promotes the rich and keeps the poor entrenched in economic hardship. The process has been blamed for repressing the freedom of workers (i.e., to assemble and redress the wrongs) and for creating labor conditions that are unsafe and harmful. Its activities are condemned for the destruction of the natural environment that affects the entire global population. No wonder business has been labeled as an immoral pursuit without any redeeming social value that destroys mankind’s altruistic responsibilities and duties to fellow man, as the proﬁt motive trumps all other considerations. No wonder such activity is portrayed as evil and devoid of charity and caring for others. Whether in the ﬁnal analysis the commercial imperative is characterized as good or bad, its impact on the world cannot be underestimated. Hence an inquiry and therefore understanding of its role in the development of civilization is right for inspection and reﬂection. Students learning the various disciplines of commerce in order to become better future managers need to know that their ancestral brethren, the traders and merchants of ancient times, helped transform the world. As
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much as the reign of any regional royalty, the gifts bestowed on society by masterful inventors and scientists, the inspirational writing of great philosophers, the works of accomplished composers and painters and sculptors, and the creativity of skillful architects and endowed craftsmen (those involved in the commercial process) also contributed to altering societies around the world and in many instances fostered and supported their efforts. Merchants were instrumental in spreading the words of the great religious prophets beyond the abilities of their own clergy. They walked beside the great conquerors from Alexander the Great to Genghis Khan, helping to sustain their empires as well as those royalties around the world. Businessmen have supported democratic as well as totalitarian governments in the sustainability of economies under their respective political systems.
Trade: The Incubator for the Growth and Development of Civilization
Civilization is deﬁned as an advanced state of human society in which a higher level of culture science, industry and government has been reached. According to Ian Morris it is a process of social development—basically, a group’s ability to master its physical and intellectual environment to get things done. Putting it more formally, social development is the bundle of technological, subsistence, organizational and cultural accomplishments through which people feed, clothe, house and reproduce themselves.24 When used in a broader sense, with trade advancing the state of human society by providing a breeding ground for the developmental process, ancient commercial activities fueled the pursuit of proactive positive change, acting as a forcible element for social progress, the attainment of basic necessities. Civilization therefore is linked to an economic derivative. It began when a certain surplus of resources was built up and people began trading the excess after their immediate needs were satisﬁed, a reference to mankind’s change from daily foraging and hunting to harboring his collected. Seed cultivation in agriculture was the ﬁrst step. Instead of gathering naturally available resources, organized planting
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of crops developed. This led to the harboring of seeds to plant for the future as opposed to planting everything and eating everything that grew. Seed modiﬁcation followed as some yielded better results than others, thereby producing a potential excess over consumable need. From such a consideration, the idea of using the surplus developed, which in turn could be exchanged. The domestication of wildlife from fowl (chicken) to sheep, goats, cows, pigs, and horses begot herding, and recultivation of the stock, as opposed to stalking and killing, followed. Such activities acted as a prelude to the exchange process and the eventual bartering of what was not immediately consumed, which was followed by the intermediary commercialization process that gave rise to the proﬁt incentive. The ﬁrst recorded state-sponsored public storage of surplus grains organized by governmental decree is to be found in ancient Egypt. The idea was also cultivated in the Jordan Valley around 9300 BCE as evidenced by archeological ﬁndings of clay storage chambers (about 10 ft. wide and 10 ft. tall), which were presumably constructed by regional administrators in conjunction with private individuals.25 Such granaries, underground silos, were initially constructed with the goal of surviving periods of bad harvest for the collective good, itself a symbol of civilized social behavior. However, such a practice during good harvests gave rise to the trading imperative: the selling of the surfeit, which was not required to sustain the local population. The concept of surplus— that is, the accumulation of things in excess of current and projected needs as an ancient stimulus for the commercial trading function—is a principle still driving the mercantile practice today. Many companies got their start in the export process from selling redundant domestic inventory to new foreign markets. Even surplus-seasonal goods that do not move in periodic climate inﬂuenced regions and are rerouted abroad to other hemispheres, offering multinational ﬁrms a more year-round global sales experience. The new bathing suits that do not sell in the summer in the northern hemisphere ﬁnd a revolving market in the upcoming southern hemisphere as their temperatures warm up. If cross-cultural social integration or internationalization, the crossing of national boundaries, has contributed to the growth of civilization on Earth, then certainly the provocateurs of such human endeavors were the merchants of old. Their commercial pursuits paved the way for mankind to venture beyond their home territories, resulting in linkages between different societies, with
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the relative contributions of each furthering the development of the others. If civilization is the culmination of the human learning curve, such a process was advanced on the commercial pathways constructed on the ancient trading imperative. As these activities occurred long ago, then the term “globalization” in its most generic content is not a current phenomenon but merely the branches of the roots planned earlier in time. The globalization directive has been around for centuries and has taken numerous forms, expressed in terms of worldwide systems including political, economic, cultural, and technological to name just a few. But when added together, the result is civilization. Even when characterized from a ﬁscal accounting monetary prospective, the concept pays tribute to an ancient heritage. Globalization is simply the economic philosophy in vogue now but it is not a new concept. It is merely a part of the natural evolution begun when man exchanged the fruits of his labors with his fellow man, maturing into the cross territorial intercontinental trading process, which affects most of the world today. In the end, modern globalization is just a phrase to describe a period of advanced civilization—a part of mankind’s cycle on Earth when cross border trade was reaching new heights and as such a piece of human history on Earth.
People Without Trade
Jared Diamond, in his book Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed,26 uses the failure to trade as one of the cornerstones in the eventual disintegration and disappearance of historic societies, the fall of their civilization. Such a conclusion, although well sustained by this PulitzerPrize-winning author, requires one to hypothesize on events in the past and does not allow for a purer scientiﬁc investigation, a living example. However the proof supporting the theoretical hypothesis that a society becomes more civilized and does not die but perhaps lies dormant can be exempliﬁed by examining an existing group whose growth has been stymied by its desire not to develop an exchange process either among themselves or with foreign entities. Daniel Everett, a linguistic anthropologist, studied and wrote about an Amazonian tribe called the Pirahã (pronounced “piria”) in his book Don’t Sleep, There Are Snakes.27 Their semiclosed society, with the exception of the occasional contact with foreign parties along their territorial
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river bank, has not altered their tribal cultural existence, nor has it made any progress in their daily lives. They have little knowledge nor inclination to commercialize their lives, no less change them. An investigation into their culture reveals that they do not possess any of the universally recognized values consistently found in other groups around the world that would form the basis of an exchange-related society. They live and act in the present with no concept of the past or future. Their daily actions are organized to support a moment in time. When they are hungry, they forage and gather or hunt and ﬁsh, consuming immediately all that is taken from the environment around them. If such activities are not performed, they simply do not eat. As such they do not horde, stockpile, or keep supplies. Everything that is made they use up at that moment. Their skills and abilities are for their immediate self-consumption only. If baskets are needed for the collection of edible substances, they make them as needed and dispose of them thereafter. Their homes are seasonably moved and the old ones discarded. They wear the same clothing from day to day and process no ceremonial or special occasion garments. Accumulation of material wealth is not represented in their culture. The only remnants that are kept from day to day are basic tools, metal cooking pots, a knifelike sharpened instrument, and bows and arrows to allow for a daily subsistence living. They view things, the personal possessions of others, as not related to them in any signiﬁcant way. Commitments for the future do not exist—couples unite; and by simply choosing to live with one another or not is how their marriages are formed and dissolved. No promises of any kind are offered or given and no remedial form of obligation or its modern concept of a contract is in their nature. There are no written laws and even when a tribal member commits a bad thing against another it is normally accepted and forgotten. If a really bad thing is done that could hurt the entire tribe, the offending member is ostracized from the group—the supreme punishment. There is no common supernatural entity, nature or entity that has inﬂuence over their lives although each tribal member does relate to an inner spirit they mystically see in their minds, which exercises some inﬂuence over internalized actions but not in their relations with others. No chief or leader emerges in the communal group and no shamans or so-called western witch doctors live in the community except for the theatrically gifted native who entertains the community from time to time, although the natives refer
GLOBALIZATION AND BUSINESS PRINCIPLES
to him in the spiritual characters he mimics in the spirit show, as opposed to his real name. The Pirahã do not record anything, as this could not be used as a reliable reference or the process would involve the later acceptance of a historic event or past transaction they actually had not experienced. Remember, they live only in the present. Stories cannot be handed down once the original party to an event dies. So technically they as a people have no history, everything is in real time. Symbols may be used to designate a concept or idea at that moment but not a remembrance of a past deed or thought. Knowledge for the Pirahã requires eyewitness testimony. Transmission of thoughts and ideas is not subject to peer review. The test of knowledge is not that it is universally accepted as truth by everyone but that it has value for singular individuals in their daily lives. They have no counting system, no exacting words for all or part of a thing, as they live in a numberless environment. As no common measurement system exists they do not bother to record a thing’s worth or value. In the quasiexchange transactions they enter into with foreign traders on a periodic basis for the same goods the transaction always results in differing values, to the disadvantage of the Indian tribe. They simply do not think in terms of value maintenance. They have no regard for, nor concept of, personal property. They do not exchange items among themselves: there is no barter value system. Instead, they just ask each other to share when something is immediately needed. Repayment is only offered if the other party requests their aid, but this is not viewed as a thing in return but part of their social responsibility. Therefore there is no medium of exchange and no intermediary article of value has emerged in the tribe. When dealing with foreigners, they have adopted the practice of barter but without the collateral process of bargaining or value haggling, thus failing to assimilate the concept of a product’s value that others have into their lives. They do not borrow or incorporate this culturally induced concept into their daily exchanges with each other. The repetitive contact with foreign people and their material goods is always considered as a new, singular event. Hence anything learned does not make its way in the lives of the Pirahã. They never truly assimilate themselves, resulting in their failure to alter or change their ways. New things introduced to them are used and discarded; and if it never shows up again, there is no loss of value or beneﬁt. It is almost like their tribe has
GLOBALIZATION TAKES ROOT
Alzheimer disease permeating their people. Any contact, therefore, with the modern world has little or no effect on them. The Pirahã therefore do not venture out of their territory in search of resources or even utilize the special skill sets of those not in the tribe. They do even acquire new abilities from outsiders but only rely on homegrown historic skill sets. The author relates a ﬁrsthand event that demonstrates this point. The natives see a canoe they call “Brazilian,” are intrigued by its design and worthiness, but do nothing. The author who lives with them arranges for one to be built in their presence, trusting that they will learn from the experience. They participate in erecting this new water conveyance, watching and helping. But when it is ﬁnished and given to them as a gift, they simply use it; they do not attempt to build another and offer no value in return. It is just accepted as a new thing in their lives, which when used will eventually be discarded. There is no discernable division of labor in the tribe, all perform the same activities, although the women forage in the forest and the men hunt and ﬁsh. This is the extent of the recognition of differing skill sets—it is more of a social gender order. While some members are admired for their superior abilities in such activities, as in “he is a good ﬁsherman,” jobs are not separated, which would allow people to do what they do best and hence trade with others for what they do best, thus developing a mutual reward system. They do not exhibit the principle of competitive advantage, a key element in the exchange imperative. The Pirahã have not emerged from their primitive existence. Their cloistered existence has not changed and their civilization has not developed. While their belief or value system is certainly a prime motivator to this phenomenon, their negative desire to develop an exchange-based society, the precursor of the trading imperative, whether within their own culture or in a continuing rule-based system with others outside their community, is a most interesting observation. It is evident that to sustain the hypothesis of commercial dealings, the eventual economic system emerging from the process of reaching out and touching others in a simplistic exchange procedure is a major contributor to the growth and development of civilization. Without the cultural imperative to trade, nothing moves forward and human progress is stymied.
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